Sunday, February 03, 2008

I'm Just A Girl, Part Two

In my last post, I wrote about conservatism and feminism. Today, I'm going to talk about two opinions even more widely set-- feminism and being a born-again Christian. Traditionally, the Church has had staunch views on the roles of women. However, I believe that God loves women ('cause we all kw that God don't make no junk!), has a special purpose for women, and believes that women should be respected. Yes, Virginia, you can reconcile feminism and Christianity.

Today, women are not allowed leadership roles in the Baptist Church. I want us to take a look at Judges 4 and 5, and read about a woman named Deborah. Notice that there is no hooplah or fanfare about Deborah being appointed a judge. That's because, according to Mosaic Law, there was nothing prohibiting a woman from taking responsibilities ordinarily reserved for men. She was a prophetess, and was also married. People came from far and wide to have Deborah settle their disputes. Kinda reminds me of a less mouthy Judge Judy.

God gave Deborah a message for Barak to take an army to Mount Tabor, where God would deliver the Canaanites into his hands. This is what I find funny--Barak wouldn't go without Deborah. This in a culture where women weren't given any sort of consideration outside of childbearing. Hello! You have ten thousand men AND God on your side! Because of his fear, God had Deborah tell Barak that the victory would go to a woman.

God chose Deborah for her wisdom. We, as women, have wisdom gained from our past experiences that we can share. God called us to minister to others--not to gossip or catfight or tear one another down behind our backs. The world does that for us--Christian sisters need to build one another up.

In the New Testament, there's a change of attitude. I've been doing a lot of reading in the New Testament about women's role, and I'm very confused. Confused to a point to where I might have a problem with Paul. Not with God, mind you, but with Paul. Sometimes I feel like Paul is pressing his opinion onto the reader. For instance, you look at 1 Corinthians 7, where he tirades on marriage. Didn't God create marriage? Isn't is supposed to be an example of our relationship with God? We're often referred to as "the bride" and Jesus as "the bridegroom". Paul even admits that his thoughts against marriage are his own opinions.

How, then, am I supposed to know where Paul's opinion ends and God's Word begins? 1 Corinthians 11 and 1 Timothy 2, for example. Paul talks about a woman covering her head--Ok, I can chalk that one up to cultural custom of the time. However, he also goes on to say that woman is the glory of man. Funny, I thought I was created to glorify God. Certainly, I don't want to bring shame to my husband, but I don't think cutting my hair is going to do that. I also don't believe that God created me just so I could glorify a man. I have a brain, a heart, a voice that God gave me to use towards His glory.

What really confuses me, though, is 1 Timothy 2. Paul makes a lot of "I" statements, and I began to wonder again if this passage is another case of Paul stating his opinion. Paul says:
"I want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes..."
"I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent...But women will be save through childbearing..."

What am I supposed to think about this? That my salvation at age 17 meant nothing until I gave birth to Cathryn at age 25? That I'm not supposed to style my hair? That I should throw out my wedding rings? That I should wear a sack from my chin to my fingers to my toes? I don't think that I'm dishonoring God by looking nice. Didn't 1 Samuel 16:7 teach us that God doesn't look at the outward appearance, but at the heart?

I understand that God created Adam first, and that Eve was created as a helper for him. Like I said before, I don't want to hinder my husband. However, I don't think that it makes women second-class citizens. I have every right to a successful life that honors God.

In Luke 8:3, it clearly says that Mary Magdalene, Joanna (the wife of the manager of Herod's household)and Susanna among others were helping to support Jesus out of their own means. They were supporting Jesus' ministry financially! If that's not indepence, well, I'm just stumped.

Jesus' message while He was here on earth was simple: God loves you, and He wants you to love Him and one another. He came to die for men, women, and children. He did not make distinctions between the sexes.

So how do you reconcile feminism with Christianity? I believe you do it by knowing that God created you with a purpose, and that you are beautifully and wonderfully made. He gave us gifts and talents for us to use to glorify His name. The Bible is full of stories of women who lived their lives to honor God, not man.

Most importantly, God sent His Son to die for each of us.


Bekah said...

A big AMEN! So I'm a bra burning (oh how I would to burn some bras..I bet invented them) feminist..a Christian bra burning feminist. It really gets me when people use Christianity to justify treating women badly. For some reason this reminds me of Liz Curtis Higg's book series "bad girls of the Bible". I'll stop babbling now

Josie Thames said...

You know, I've always wanted to read that book. There's two of them, isn't there?

I'm glad to know that I'm not alone in this!

Bekah said...

Theres actually 3 now! I've only read the first two. 2nd was okay but you can't beat the first